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Friday, August 02, 2002
The British Army, accounting standards and the wily Blair

According to lots of reports, including that in The Guardian, 1st August, (sorry, I haven't got this links business worked out yet) the British army is in a real mess.

There is a nostrum among management accountants, when faced with a set of accounts that are really dire and that cannot be put in a favourable light, that says 'OK, let's load in all the other problem areas and make the figures even worse'. Accepting that things are going to look bad this year, they argue that dumping other debts that they're keeping quiet about into the results will clear the decks for the future. What's the betting that the report on the British army is a similar ploy?

Most commentators are complaining that, with the prospect of a new war against Iraq, we are woefully unprepared. These commentators have got it arse-about-face. The argument should be 'Oh goodness, we've just recently discovered that we couldn't possibly help you with your war, Dubya old fruit. Sorry and all that but the wheels have just fallen off our fighting machine. Still, you can go ahead without us, can't you?'

Can you imagine a report as serious as this one being quite so well publicised, at such a critical time, were it not of great political use? Blair must be chortling all the way to and from St Albion's: it isn't often you're able to please the hawks and doves with one statement, is it? Just wait for the hand wringing, folks.

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